I was bitterly disappointed with Prometheus and my previous enthusiastic blog about Blade Runner only served as a reminder of how great Ridley Scott can be when he’s on form. He wasn’t on form with this film. His form had left the building. His form had packed a suitcase, got on a plane and left the country.
Plot: Archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) decide to go in search of humanity’s alien ancestors after looking at some cave paintings (as you do). The Weyland Corporation fund the scientific mission that includes camp android David (Michael Fassbender), pointlessly menacing Mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and a bunch of faceless and grumbling crew members destined to become Alien-fodder. They land, they go poking about where they shouldn’t, everything goes tits-up.
In its favour the film looked great. The sweeping shots of dramatic landscapes, waterfalls and gliding spacecraft were awe-inspiring. The human-like aliens (Engineers) were well-conceived, although they did put me in mind of Duran Duran’s Wild Boys. But you know you’re in trouble when all you can find to praise about a film is the cinematography and the special effects. What atmosphere these scenes managed to create unfortunately dissipated the moment anyone spoke or appeared on screen.
The characters were stereotypes at best and one-dimensional cardboard cutouts at worst. While its not necessary to provide copious backstory there does need to be enough substance in the characters to make them believable and their behaviour and reactions credible. A decent script might have helped with that.
The story was flimsy and predictable but it wouldn’t have mattered if it had made any sense and if the random and pointless plot twists and character inconsistencies hadn’t robbed it of any dramatic tension.
The Alien itself appeared to take at least 3 different forms, as if no one could decide which was more scary so they threw them all in. Was it a liquid? Was it an infection? Was it a big snake that ate you? Did it mutate you into an alien? Did it make you give birth to snake aliens? Did it burst out of you like the Alien from the original franchise?
Plus, I must have been missing something cos I found Fassbender’s swishing about in flip flops trying to be like Lawrence of Arabia just comedic after a while.
Also, if you’re making a prequel then surely the tech and the styling shouldn’t be more slick and sophisticated than whatever it’s preceding? I know that this is meant to be depicting a well-financed scientific mission and the ship in Alien was a commercial towing ship but still…
And what was with the lame Star Trek: TNG-style music?
The point is, this film could have been amazing and it wasn’t. What it did was reinforce the utter genius of Alien. But that’s a whole other blog…
Originally posted 23 June 2012